By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) — If Chris Sale was pitching in the 1970s, he might have been able to determine his own fate on Thursday evening. The White Sox ace pitcher allowed only one hit through 7 innings of work. That one hit, a home run in the 6th by Bostons Xander Bogaerts, and 127 pitches determined his exit.
The White Sox bullpen continued their ineptness, allowing two ninth inning runs in the 3-1 loss. Sale and Boston starter Jon Lester both had not allowed a hit through 5 innings.
“The atmosphere was high, it was great,” Sale said. “Knowing who you have across the way, runs are going to be scarce. I went out to give it everything I had. You can’t have any consternation, and you can’t shy away from that. We kept our heads high, we just got out-pitched.”
Maybe the team got out-pitched, but not Sale. He struck out 10 Red Sox hitters, while throwing a career high 127 pitches. After the two teams had played 14 innings on Wednesday evening, Sale knew it was his night to pitch deep into the game.
“That is what I am supposed to do after the house threw so many innings last night. You have to pick up some slack there and do what you can,” Sale said.
Sale has been so dominant in most of his outings that left-handed hitters have yet to get a hit of him this season ( 0-20 ). As a White Sox starter, left-handed hitters have only managed to hit .173 against him in two-plus seasons.
Manager Robin Ventura was a tad nervous letting Sale finish the seventh as his pitch count began to increase.
“115-120, you know he can do that,” Ventura said. “Do you want him to do that every night? No. In a game like tonight, it is hard to take him out of there when he has battled a pitcher like that. Guys like him want to be in that game.”
The team’s great concern remains the bullpen, which allowed 7 earned runs (5.21 ERA), and walked 14 in the series against Boston. It was Ronald Belisario who took the loss, giving up three straight hits in the final inning.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.